Save the horse from overwork!
Save the horse from overwork!
You worked hard to get your horse in good shape by the start of the season and take part in several tournaments. At first, everything went well, but now you notice that the horse is not so retired under the saddle as before, it seems more irritable and less inclined to cooperate. Neither food nor walks bring her past pleasure. All these are signs of recycling.
Signs of fatigue
In any sport, the accumulated stress gained during training or competition can lead to fatigue if you overdo it. Regardless of the discipline the horse specializes in, the signs of chronic fatigue will be similar to the symptoms that race horses exhibit in similar situations. However, horses most often experience a less severe syndrome called “overwork”. Its main difference is that the horse, which has been processed, is restored within a few days or, at most, in a two-week period, if it is given the opportunity to relax. In contrast, a horse that is chronically overworked as a result of high-intensity exercises (such as horse racing) cannot recover for several months or even years due to extreme degrees of stress. In some cases, it may end in the end of a career.
What are some possible signs of fatigue? You may notice:
· Decreased productivity or lack of performance improvements despite ongoing training.
· Weight loss by 10% or more. Weight loss is more associated with a decrease in muscle glycogen stores, rather than a decrease in feed intake.
· Increased heart rate during exercise. It can be detected by monitoring heart rate.
· Delayed restoration of heart rhythm (the horse needs more time than usual to return to normal rhythm after training).
· Behavioral changes: raising head, horse tails, reluctance to complete tasks, irritability, grumpy or nervous behavior.
· Less interest in interacting with other horses, even if you bring a new horse to the herd.
These changes, of course, can be associated with problems caused by other causes. Therefore, it is imperative to conduct a thorough physical examination of the horse, showing poor performance, to exclude the presence of disease or injury. If nothing is found, it is possible to diagnose chronic fatigue.
We want to note one more important point. Horses suffering from stomach ulcers or muscular-skeletal pains, receiving stress in addition to stress from training, are more likely to be overworked.
What to do?
With the appearance of signs that the horse is suffering from fatigue, care should be taken to ensure that it receives sufficient rest for a sufficient amount of time.
It is also important to study all possible stress factors present in the horse’s life and remove as many of them as possible. If the horse is not accessible for walking in levada, she should be given a larger stall and walk with her in her arms at least twice a day.
However, in the case of processing, preventing a problem is much easier than fighting it.
Stress in a horse’s life reduces the effect of training, especially when it does a high-intensity job. It may be difficult for you to assess how stressful the “normal” mode of life of a tournament horse is – it is easy to take everything that happens for granted, as long as you see that your horse eats well and is not sluggish.
Think about how the horse feels, which goes through the same training day after day. One and the same arena, practicing the same movements. How does a horse feel, which is forced to live with incompatible neighbors or has problems with a herd in a pasture? Think of a horse that lives in a stall without the ability to play on pasture. What about her diet? Does she have permanent access to hay? How does a horse live, which is constantly taken to seminars, competitions, master classes? How does it endure the stresses associated with transportation and the constant change of environmental conditions?
All these situations contribute to increasing anxiety and emotional stress of the horse. The stable condition of the horse is influenced by inflammatory diseases of the respiratory tract, viral respiratory infections, and stomach ulcers.
A horse that is too complicated or intensive can work too hard if it does not have the proper level of training (the rider requires it that the horse cannot give yet). This is especially the case with young horses that are enthusiastic and energetic. At the same time, ambitious riders are trying to get the most out of the horse, demanding more and more, not realizing the “limit”.